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Earlier this week, WBEZ Investigations published an article describing numerous acts of sexual abuse and misconduct suffered by over 50 City of Evanston staff at Evanston’s lakefront over a period of years, but which the City Manager had not brought to public attention – nor even, apparently, to City Council members.
Community Alliance for Better Government demands that Evanston’s City Council immediately authorize an independent investigation of the appalling, numerous, and ongoing allegations of sexual abuse in the Parks and Recreation Division, and the silence at best of the City Manager’s office, that allowed this to continue into the summer of 2021.
We are furious on behalf of the women and anyone else affected, and we are frustrated that a culture of sexual harassment, alleged for years by staff of Parks and Rec, led by Lawrence Hemingway, has failed to be curtailed by Human Resources Director Jennifer Lin and City Manager Erika Storlie. The self-defense outlined in their press statement is woefully insufficient. There’s no such thing as employee “empowerment” and “ongoing dialogue” when acts of violence are involved; clearly, employees are frightened and insulted.
We demand the immediate firing of those found responsible not only for perpetrating, but for abetting these crimes.
Following this, the Mayor and City Council must address the toxic culture, with an admixture of racism, sexism, and favoritism, that has flourished without meaningful challenge at 2100 Ridge for years.
The voices of these young women have been ignored, and CABG stands with them in solidarity.